Alitalia, 70 Anni di Storia tutta Italiana

 

Proprio come l’Italia, la Compagnia Aerea Italiana (Alitalia) tende ad avere un ricordo romantizzato del passato come i poeti neoclassicisti del 1800 o gli scellerati che acclamano che si stava bene in Italia nel periodo del fascio perché “quando c’era lui i treni passavano in orario”.

Bello vedere il cambio di divise degli assistenti di volo negli anni ma il regista si è dimenticato di citare qualche importante avvenimento nel corso della storia della ex compagnia di bandiera. Cerco di porre rimedio:

  • 1996 Prodi cede parte delle quote pubbliche alla borsa
  • 2006 Prodi tenta di privatizzare il resto della compagnia, buone trattative in corso col gruppo Air France – KLM
  • 2008 Air France – KLM si ritirano dalle trattative per via della quasi certa vittoria di Berlusconi alle elezioni che voleva ‘mantenere Italiana la ex compagnia di bandiera’.
  • 2008 Alitalia fallisce, il governo divide l’azienda in ‘good’ e ‘bad’ company. La ‘bad company’ se la tiene lo Stato (debituccio per lo Stato Italiano di 2 miliardi di euro). La ‘good company’ viene venduta a degli investitori Italiani che comprano un’azienda con ottimo personale, una nuova flotta e un marchio con reputazione internazionale non indifferente. – 8000 dipendenti Alitalia in meno, cassa integrazione pagata dallo Stato Italiano.
  • 2009 altri 2400 esuberi e tagli di stipendio del 20%. Mi meraviglia il fatto che una cordata di imprenditori Italiani di successo non riescano a far andare avanti una grande azienda essenziale per collegare un Paese abbastanza esteso geograficamente con una popolazione di 60 milioni abitanti con legami internazionali e intercontinentali non indifferenti (dovuti a generazioni di emigrazione nota come la ‘diaspora Italiana’ che tuttora continua).
  • 2014 Nuovamente lo Stato Italiano interviene per salvare l’azienda con l’acquisto di azioni Alitalia da parte di Poste Italiane (spa a capitale pubblico). Questo permette le condizioni necessarie per concludere la vendita di 49% delle azioni al gruppo Ethiad (nel 2008 molti sostenevano Berlusconi che non voleva un favorevole affare con Francesi e ora firmano un accordo con Emiri). Ulteriori tagli al personale.
  • 2017 Alitalia festeggia 70 anni di attività commerciale con un’ottima campagna marketing ed uno sconto del 25% per tutti i voli prenotati in questo periodo per volare su tratte in Italia entro Giugno. I vertici Alitalia sicuramente sono fortemente influenzati dal movimento indipendentista Sardo quindi questo sconto non viene applicato sui voli ‘nazionali’ da e per la Sardegna.

 

Tutta questa pagliacciata marketing per cercare di velare le grosse difficoltà finanziarie dell’azienda che, secondo una stima Reuters, sta perdendo mezzo milione di Euro al giorno. Nonostante 70 anni di aiuti dato dallo Stato Italiano continuano a non riuscire a decollare.

A questo punto qualcuno si potrebbe chiedere come tutto questo sia possibile, anche io me lo chiedo ma risposte non ne ho. Non voglio fare il ‘Capitan Ovvio’ della situazione ma sicuramente sono state fatte una serie di scelte scellerate nel corso degli anni da diverse persone dell’élite politica politica e del mondo finanziario. Il tutto sembra quasi indicare un intento volere a far fallire questa azienda. Io non voglio credere a queste teorie complottistiche ma ugualmente non mi sento in posizione di dare dell’incapace a onorevoli membri della politica Italiana e imprenditori di successo che hanno fatto carriera meravigliosa grazie al loro ingegno e alle loro capacità gestionali.

 

 

Massimo rispetto e solidarietà per il personale Alitalia, vittime di incertezze continue sul loro futuro lavorativo per via del crudele volere degli dei, che indubbiamente sono i soli responsabili della situazione attuale. Un’azienda Italiana con ottime potenzialità globali punita da anni dal volere degli dei.

 

Fonti date e dati  > Ansa: http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/economia/2017/04/24/dalle-privatizzazioni-a-ethiad-leterna-crisi-alitalia_0a7493d5-f81e-4244-9498-657f36a66a23.html

Reuters (video – English): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmxJVRhKO8I

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25 Aprile: Lettera a gli Studenti Italiani di Uppsala

[English below]
Carissimi soci,
Oggi l’Italia festeggia la ‘Festa di Liberazione’. Un giorno importante per la storia di un giovane Paese con antiche origini, che per via di alcuni scellerati e una forte propaganda, ha deviato il corso centenario di evoluzione di pensieri e filosofie che hanno portato alla fondazione deil nostro Stato nel 1861. L’Italia, oggi, di costituzione è antifascista. L’apologia al fascismo è reato sansionabile per legge e noi come organizzazione studentesca Italiana siamo in linea con questi principi di uguaglianza, anti discriminazione e inclusione.
Se non ti ritrovi in questi principi generali alla base della nostra Costituzione Repubblicana, forse questa associazione non fa per te.
Di sotto ho pubblicato un link a ‘Bella Ciao’, canto antifascista, non comunista come alcuni erroneamente credono. Un canto dei Partigiani, famoso in tutto il mondo, dedicato a coloro che hanno lottato col sangue per creare l’Italia che conosciamo oggi: libera, democratica e antifascista.
Buon festeggiamento a tutti e spero di vedere molti di voi studenti Uppsaliensi stasera al nostro ‘Pub Crawl di Liberazionel’ in cui festeggieremo questo giorno importante nel modo migliore che conosciamo.
Calorosi Saluti,
Alexander Maxia
Presidente
Studenti Italiani Università di Uppsala
***********************************************************************
Dear Members,
Today Italy celebrates ‘Festa di Liberazione’ (liberation party). It is a really important day for the history of a young country with ancient origins, which due to the actions of few idiots and a strong propaganda, stopped the century long history of progression of philosophical thoughts and ideologies which were at the basis of the foundation of our State in 1861. Italy today, is antifascist by constitutional law. Supporting fascism is a crime punishable by law and we as an Italian student organisation, are in line with these principles of equality, anti-discrimination and inclusion.
If you feel that these principles do not belong to you, maybe this organisation is not for you.
I have published below a link to ‘Bella Ciao’, an antifascist song, not communist as some may mistakenly believe. It is a song of the Partisans, famous around the world, dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives to create Italy as we know it today: free, democratic and antifascist.
Wish you all to enjoy the celebrations and hope to see many of you Uppsala students at our ‘Liberation Pub crawl’ event tonight in which we will mark this important day celebrating the way we know best.
Best regards,
Alexander Maxia
President
Italian Students of Uppsala University
Links:
Email studenti.uu@gmail.com

Lettera ai Brotzini – 12 Aprile ’17

Uppsala, 12 Aprile 2017
Carissimi Brotzini,
Sono un fantasma che scrive dall’oltre maturità, un mondo strano senza assemblee d’istituto, ricreazioni e note nel registro. Un mondo diverso da quello che state vivendo ora, ma al quale, tra qualche mese o qualche anno, che vi piaccia o meno anche voi ci arriverete..
Parlerò dei miei giorni al Liceo, di un amico in particolare e di tanti altri amici e compagni che insieme a me hanno cercato di fare qualcosa per lui, anche se non ha avuto modo di poterci ringraziare.
Nell’anno scolastico 2010/2011 ero rappresentante degli studenti nella Consulta provinciale e rappresentante d’istituto nel nostro Liceo; un anno veramente bellissimo in cui si sono discusse molte idee: alcune sono andate in porto altre sono state bocciate.
Nel corso del mio anno da rappresentante d’istituto e alla consulta provinciale mi sono battuto tantissimo per un progetto a cui ho creduto molto e in cui tuttora credo pur non potendo fare molto a riguardo trovandomi a più di 1000 Km a nord di Pitz’e Serra in una città universitaria poco più a nord di Stoccolma.
Si parla del progetto di sicurezza stradale ‘Vivo Sicuro’.
Un’idea nata da noi ragazzi e destinata ad altri ragazzi della nostra scuola e di tutta la provincia. Il motivo? Come molti di voi sapranno o avranno notato, davanti alla scuola c’è un murales con tante scritte (sensate per una volta non le solite ‘More ti amo 6 il mio mondo 4ever’ etc.) e fotografie dedicate a Leo.
leo_iconLeonardo Secci era un ragazzino della mia stessa sezione allo scientifico, un anno più piccolo, che conoscevo personalmente e che conoscevano in molti per via della sua vivace personalità e del suo carattere molto socievole.
Verso le 9 e mezza del 12 Aprile 2010 rimase vittima di un incidente stradale, davanti ai cancelli della nostra scuola e nonostante l’arrivo immediato dei soccorsi non ci fu nulla da fare. Fu per noi un triste e cupo momento della nostra vita e molte persone della mia generazione di Brotzini sono rimasti scioccati dall’avvenuto.
Dopo tutto a 16-17 anni ci si crede invincibili, le malattie e la vecchiaia sono lontane, chi ci può toccare?!
Per questo motivo, insieme con gli altri rappresentanti e con l’aiuto di tante persone, da studenti a professori, al preside stesso e al resto del personale scolastico ci siamo uniti per creare un qualcosa per ricordare Leo e per fare si che tutti i nostri coetanei ragazzi pensino all’importanza della sicurezza stradale.
Quelle macchie di rosso scuro sull’asfalto sono rimaste per molte settimane e quelle immagini rimarranno per sempre nella mente della mia generazione di liceali Quartesi.
Mi rendo conto che per chi non era presente al liceo quel 12 Aprile del 2010 e non ha conosciuto Leo di persona possa essere difficile vedere l’importanza, a sette anni di distanza, di questo progetto da noi avviato con tanto impegno e fatica.
Leo purtroppo non è stata l’ultima vittima di un incidente stradale. Da allora hanno perso la vita sulla strada, tra le persone che conosco, due coetanei ed un amico di famiglia, padre di un carissimo amico.
Vi invito fortemente a riflettere su questo e se avete la possibilità di parlarne con amici e compagni perché solo voi potete rianimare questo progetto e portarlo avanti per le generazioni future.
Oltre all’aspetto sociale, connesso con il ‘fare un’opera di bene’, il coinvolgimento in un simile progetto vi permetterebbe di acquisire importanti competenze, utili in un futuro mondo del lavoro, sia come esperienze da inserire in un CV, che come acquisizione di competenze dovute proprio al lavoro che la progettazione e l’esecuzione di un progetto come ‘Vivo Sicuro’ comporta.
Quando ho fatto domanda per studiare all’università di Manchester e, successivamente, per fare la specialistica qua ad Uppsala, ho sempre citato la mia esperienza come parte del comitato organizzativo del progetto. Dopo tutto, se la scelta é tra prendere “8 e mezzo” senza avere esperienze extra oppure un “7 meno meno” col bagaglio di esperienze maturate in un anno di lavoro (marketing, pubbliche relazioni, capacità di parlare al microfono davanti a centinaia di persone, gestione della stampa etc.) l’Università o l’eventuale datore di lavoro favoriscono indubbiamente un curriculum più ricco, soprattutto se lavorando per una nobile causa. Detto questo, pur avendo dedicato tantissimo del mio tempo a questo progetto, unitamente ad altri impegni (rappresentante d’istituto, consulta provinciale, volontario al 118 etc.) sono comunque riuscito a maturarmi con 100.
Se siete interessati vi invito fortemente a contattare il Prof. Luigi Piras, una persona molto in gamba che dal primo consiglio d’istituto nell’Ottobre del 2010 ha sempre creduto e fortemente sostenuto questo progetto nel corso degli anni. Chiedete di lui a scuola o scrivetegli una mail: luigipiras@virgilio.it oppure potete mandarli un messaggio via WhatsApp al numero: 327 54 03 302.
Vi ringrazio per la vostra paziente attenzione.
Calorosi Saluti,
Alex

Leo_striscione

4 Years of Blogging 

On the 8th of February 2013, barely 1 month into my Erasmus exchange study program, I published my first article in ‘Lost in a Cup’. The title was ‘Sweden at Heathrow‘ and talked about my first contact with Sweden on the tarmac of the busiest airport in the UK.

Since then I wrote other 84 articles and published 40 odd pages through the years although most of my work was written in the first half of 2013 during my exchange.
If you want to read more about the choice of title for this website/blog and its chosen content check out the About page.
If instead you want to find out more about me, the writer, check out the Biography page.
Plans for the future are to keep analysing Swedish society and student life as I’m now once again in Uppsala to study although things have changed a lot since 2013. This time I believe I have more direct contact with Swedish people as opposed to last time in which I hanged out mainly with internationals. Also I am now an ‘ämbetsman’ (officer/elected worker) of 2 student nations here which are at polar opposites in the ideals they have and way they function (lots of interesting material, hurra!).
As always keep comments flying in either publicly or in a private message (check out ‘Get in touch’).
Last but not least give a Like to the Facebook page which if you enjoy this so that you will get the latest publications on your newsfeed: http://www.facebook.com/lostinacup
Stay lost and drink espresso!
Alex
P.S. Are you in Uppsala this evening and want to celebrate with me 4 years of blogging? Plan is to have a few beverages at my place, some tea and a good cup of Italian espresso and then off to the student club ‘Valvet’ at Östgöta Nation. Fun times all around!

The Sardinian Diaspora

Sardinia has a total population of around 1.6 million inhabitants (roughly the same amount of people that Sicily has in the county of Palermo alone) and the majority of its inhabitants are concentrated around the main city Cagliari (approximately 300.000).
For a series of historical, social and financial reasons many left the island to find fortune on the Italian mainland or further afield.
My family is a perfect example of this. My father moved to London aged 19, my great uncle moved to Rome with his family in the 60s and lived there until he died, my grandfather and his brothers all studied in mainland Italy and a generation before them my great grandfather went to work in mines in Belgium and after that moved to mainland Italy, my other great grandfather instead worked in Argentina for a few years  and then they both returned to Sardinia.
There have been different waves of migration but some things have not changed through time such as the strong sense of belonging the islanders feel towards their homeland.
Even moving to Rome or the north of Italy is a big deal as ‘continente’ (= the continent, name given to mainland Italy by Sardinians) is not Sardinia. The reasons are many; partly geographical due to differences in scenery mainly the lack of stunning beaches and big green areas but also climatically as the 300+ days of sun per year, hot summers and mild winters are hard to live without once you have been used to them all your life. Lack of sun can deeply impact ones mood. The main differences however are cultural and linguistic as Sardinia has its own language which is quite different from Italian and the colourful expressions and unique words that characterise it cannot really be translated into any other language.
Today, many of my friends have left Sardinia either to continue their studies at a postgraduate level or to find work. The vast majority of them lives in Milan, followed by London, Bologna (the biggest university city in Italy), some in Rome and others abroad (many of whom live in Germany which historically has always had a strong Sardinian community).
15826512_826855070788644_5666956121398047224_n

Cagliari-Elmas Airport, departure point for many who live outside of Sardinia.

Before leaving there are a series of rituals most Sardinian youths will observe. First of all, you must drop by to say goodbye to Nonna. After that, in the evening, you say goodbye to your close friends who live on the island, one more aperitif or espresso coffee and you don’t leave before they reassure you that they will come and visit you at some point.
You get back home, pack the last things including the all important Sardinian food which has been kept in the fridge until the last minute including Bottarga (dried fish roe, typically Sardinian), pecorino cheese, cured ham or sausages that all get added to the previously packed Mirto and Limoncello.
A few hours later you are at the airport checking-in your suitcase and praying that all the heavenly goods packed do not surpass the baggage weight allowance.
Time for goodbyes: one last hug to mamma and babbo who usually tell you to look after yourself and keep in touch.
You go through security checks and look around, many others are in your same position with heavy bags and heavy hearts preparing to leave the island. Job opportunities in Sardinia are scarce, the local universities are very limited in what they offer and the ‘Sardinian mentality’ tends to drag you down making it very hard for an ambitious, international-minded youth to stay in his or her homeland.
After all Life is Calling, no time to linger or feel nostalgic, one must take to the skies in order to fulfil ones aspirations and potentials leaving Sardinia to spread across Europe and beyond.
The dream however remains to one day maybe return for good to Sardinia perhaps to start a family, set up a business to benefit the local economy or retire in the sunny slow-paced corner of paradise in your golden days.
The hope is that maybe, at that point, things will have changed for the better: the local political elite will have more sense and be in touch with the reality that surrounds them and actually care about the people they supposedly serve. Maybe the Sardinians will have lost their ‘characteristic mentality’ that tends to prevent anyone from being successful by filling anyone who dares to try something new with envy and pessimistic vibes as fear of change rules their provincial way of thinking.
That said, looking back at my family, after nearly 10 years in London my father managed to return to Sardinia and his grandfather before him after years in Argentina so there is still hope.
As long as there is hope and the will to return and change things there will be the possibility that the Sardinian diaspora may reverse its course and that many of the talented people who fled the island may return to change it for the better. Perhaps when this will happen, Sardinia will truly reach its full potential which for now is a goal which seems light years away.

Take Me to Church 

After many years not going to my local Church in Sardinia (Italy) where I had my first communion and was confirmed I tagged along with Mum and Grandmother that wanted me to go with them for the 11 o’clock Christmas service.

In classic Italian style the mass started a few minutes late but many arrived 15-20 minutes after the service began. Even the altar boy and girl were late and ran up the alter to join the priest. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt 15 years ago as I was often late when serving (some things just don’t change).

The parish priest, an acquaintance I met years ago when he was still training, was now portraying himself as very traditional as he wore old fashioned gowns (both on and off the altar) that recalled medieval priest attire and also decided to sing big parts of the mass.
During the mass, 3 ladies read extracts from the Bible at the microphone. It was their moment of glory, they could shine in front of the parish and show what a good reading intonation they have. After all, it’s good that they have something to look forward to during the week which must be a welcome change from their daily housewife duties.
The parish is located in an area called ‘Margine Rosso’, the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Quartu S. Elena, the city in which I was brought up and where my family still lives. In this area many drive BMWs or Mercedes and even at church you could notice their social-economic status by the fact that many were wearing Burberry scarfs or other ostentatiously posh clothing and most likely have successful careers to match.
It is funny that you can visibly distinguish who truly believes from those who are forced to attend by their bossy wives and this can be noticed especially when people are required to kneel down or at the start and end of the mass when everyone is supposed to do the sign of the cross.
For some reason the young children tend to make most noise (scream, cry or kick a fuss) in the most sacred moments. That could be a sign of their inner struggle with demons that possess them who could not stand the high levels of holiness.
During the mass croce-san-lucathere was a moment of ‘free prayers’ in which a member of the community read out ‘supplications’ thought by parishioners. One of them was for ‘the people who lost their faith’ to help them find the goodness within them (I almost burst out laughing) and to help the ‘Christian communities’ in Norcia (central Italy) who were effected by an earthquake earlier in the year.
After mass I wished a Happy Christmas to The Nun who used to be in charge of the alter boys (and probably still is). She hasn’t aged in 15 years which makes me vaguely suspicious, does she have Swedish blood?

I respect the Catholic Church as an organisation as they do a lot of good in building communities, uniting people, giving hope and purpose and being a multinational point of reference for millions of people across the world. However, I will never be able to go back to being part of an organisation that inflicts disease on many by preventing them using protection against HIV, that condemns homosexuals and bisexuals to being damned for eternity for the fact their love does not follow the Mary-Joseph-Jesus model. Also the condition of women inside the Church who are inferior to men in the functions they have as nuns cannot give mass and are forced to cover their hair (same way as women in Saudi Arabia widely criticised by catholic people).
When leaving the church someone asked me why I did not go for communion, to which I replied: ‘sorry, I’m a vegetarian’.

The tile of the post was inspired by Hozier’s song you can watch the video here.

 

 

Fulvio Fo (1928 – 2010)

Exactly 6 years today (17th November 2010)the great artist Fulvio Fo lost his battle to cancer and passed away in Rome.

He was a great man, who I had the privilege of meeting personally and work with during a ‘basic theatre course’ he held in the evenings in my high school in Sardinia.
Known to many as “animale teatrante e scrittore” (theatre animal and writer) he had a long career working in theatre and cinema mainly in Italy but also has some stunts abroad.
Born in Luino (a small place near Varese, in the north of Italy) in 1928 he was noble prize winner Dario Fo’s older brother.

fulvio_fo
He was a scenographer, theatre director in Turin and Rome and wrote several books too. In 1996 he moved to Sinnai, a village in the mountains just outside Cagliari, in Sardinia.
The following is a direct quote from Fulvio who wrote this a few weeks before he died:

“Quando arriverà il mio momento so che seguirò questa schiava-padrona con animo limpido, consapevole di potermene andare serenamente lasciando il mio riflesso, la mia impronta positiva sorridente di gioia illuminata e rassicurante”(Fulvio Fo).

This is my translation of the original Italian version above, although it does not sound half as poetic written in English:”When my moment will come I know I will follow this slave-master with clear spirit, aware that I will be able to leave serenely leaving my reflection, my positive and smiling mark with joy both illuminating and reassuring.” (Fulvio Fo)

 

 

The practical course I did with him in 2008 helped me immensely in winning over my timidness as at the end of it we did a live performance. During rehearsals he kept advising me: ‘speak slowly, make pauses and respect them. The pauses you make are just as important as the words you articulate’. If you think about this it is so true, one just needs to watch a speech from the best orator alive, Barack Obama, to realise the accuracy of Fulvio’s teachings. Pauses makes it sound as if you are stopping to think and give your words an air of importance.
Since that course speaking in public became much easier and the year after, when I got elected ‘representative of the students’ by my fellow school mates, I was able to chair school assemblies with an audience of a few hundred people without succumbing to nerves.
His kindness, good spirit and enthusiasm will always be remembered by those who were lucky enough to get to know him and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the theatre group who in a short period of time learnt so much from him.

Gaggi vs Burdi.

This is an interesting article in Italian that gives an insight into the reality of Sardinian ‘chavs’ and the distinctions of categorisation that exist within this broad field. Stay tuned, I might right something in ‘Cup of Espresso’ on this topic in the coming months!

mondogaggio

Ho visto un gamberone vestito da hipster e ho capito il senso (la base!) della vita. Ora è togo vestirsi da hipster, quindi il gamberone, che per entrare in discoteca deve essere vestito togo, si veste da hipster. Al punto che poi gli hipster puri tipo delle grandi metropoli si lamentano che c’è un sacco di gente che si trassa da hipster e lo scrivono sui giornali. C’è stato un periodo in cui il gamberone si vestiva da gaggio. E ci sarà sempre un periodo in cui il gamberone-dj dirà «mi chiamano spesso a suonare in quella discoteca» e si presenterà alle ragazze dicendo «ciao sono culo e faccio il DJ (*anche qui abbiamo sostituito il nome a cui si fa riferimento con uno anonimo).

Tutto questo paragrafo per dire che non è poi proprio vero che l’abito non fa il monaco, basta saperlo distinguere.  La serata dell’altro giorno, l’Essenza…

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Living in Manchester

Pre-reading Dictionary (Northern -Standard English):

Chips = French Fries / Pommes Frites

Footy = Football – Soccer

Gravy = a sauce often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and thickened with wheat flour or cornstarch for added texture.

Lad = Man

Lass = Lady

Ta = Thanks

Looking back at my days as an undergraduate university student made me think that there is something somewhat philosophical in being rained upon almost every single day of the year.

No matter what you do in life, where you come from, the amount of money in your bank account, when you are in Manchester you will get drenched. It’s almost as if someone wanted to remind everyone that there is nothing one can do to counter the great force of the cosmos and that everyone in that Northern city is in the same boat. You are not alone when you are slowly drowning in greyness, dampness , cold and misery.

manchester-rain

Will you get to work with a clean suit or will a double decker bus go full speed into a puddle and cover you in mud? Every morning people in Manchester leave their homes without knowing the answer to this quintessential question. After all, who are we to know the cards destiny has laid out for us?

However there are some solutions one can take to counter all of this. Finding a pub, which there are plenty of (surprise, surprise), is always a good start. Once inside, choose between a wide range of cheap and pretty good beers (lagers and traditional ales) and order a massive portion of cheesy chips with extra gravy, two things which always succeed in cheering you up, at least momentarily. It’s easy to find friendly people to share your misery with and of course being in England what better way to break the ice than talking about how shitty the weather outside is. Conversation with the lads is likely to cover topics such as footy and how City or United is doing in the league and you might even be lucky enough to talk about Rugby (topics I would not cover categorically as I know close to nothing about sport and am rather proud of this).

manchester-pub

When you reach that point in the night when the conversation starts to run dry you either turn your attention to the lasses or you pick up a fight. If  you choose the first option you might want to try out your well-rehersed pick up lines in the hope you’ll get lucky, remember to keep it classy: ‘Hello gourgeous, what can I get ya?’ tends to be an all time winner. If you would rather opt for the latter the best way of going about it is by shouting out loud something along the lines of: ‘Well, if you think about it, Thatcher was not that bad after all’. The reactions will be epic, guranteed. I, however, did not generally pick any of the above as I prefered going home, having a glass of milk with 2 or 3 digestive bisucuits and hitting the bed.

The good thing is that once you get kicked out of the pub, depending on how many pints you end up drinking, you will not even feel the rain, beer truly is God’s blessing in that part of the world.

I firmly believe it is important for one to strive for more long term solution to the constant, dramatic, sense of submission to God/Mother Nature that becomes your way of life whilst in Manchester. So:”Taxi! TAXI!! – once it eventually stops -To the airport please mate, ta!”

manchester-airport-terminal-1

Up, up, up and AWAY!!

Goodbye Fika

When towards the end of May I found out that I had been offered a place on the master course in anthropology at Uppsala I immediately contacted the student nation I was member of during exchange and asked the 3Q (head of personnel) if there were any vacancies.
The idea of the student nation is to offer services for students run by fellow students. Most positions are covered by volunteer workers who dedicate around an average of 10 hours a week to fulfilling their commitments within the organisation.
I was offered the position of ‘Fika host’ for which I had to commit to work 1 full shift a week in the nation’s cafe and help clean the building once a month.
When I was on exchange I had already worked at the Fika as a ‘helper’ or ‘non-responsible worker’ which I really enjoyed. This time instead, I agreed to be the responsible one who kind of ‘runs the show’ during the weekly shift.
The work load isn’t hard, you mainly serve behind the counter, clear plates, wash up, prepare sandwiches and wraps and that is pretty much it.
You do not get a salary for the work you do but you obviously have some benefits such as staff price on all food and drinks at the nation. The main reason I joined was to meet new people, which I did, big time! Everyone within the work force of the organisation knows each other and it is almost like a big extended family.
When I worked shifts I always enjoyed myself, had free food, loads of coffee and would play my cheesy playlist of music (a lot of 1 Direction, Justin Bieber and occasionally Italian pop). Plus every time I worked I would try and drag more people into the work team so that everyone could work less = no stress and plenty of time to chillax (chill and relax).

Everything went fine until I reached a point in which I could not commit for 2 weeks as I had 5 university deadlines concentrated in a short period of time. My idea was to work double as soon as this period was over, with the intention of finding a colleague who would be willing to swap with me.
It’s at this point that the messenger group chat between all the fika hosts and the fika bosses got messy. One of the bosses was taken by an urge to reaffirm his position/authority and reminded me and another colleague (who had the same problem as me for the same period of time) that ‘this is not how things work here’ and that ‘fika is serious business at the nation’.

At this point I flipped.

I pointed out that the fact that it all of a sudden was not acceptable to keep the place shut for not finding enough hosts to cover shifts or that people could not work alone was ‘big news’ as nobody seemed bothered before when I pointed this out.
The reaction from my boss (who I considered to be also a friend) was very defensive and he clearly didn’t appreciate criticism for the fact he hadn’t been as present as he probably should have in the past weeks.
To follow the situation degenerated further with a big component of the team using a healthy dose of passive aggression (for more info on this see related article by clicking here). Others took a more direct route via the messenger group chat and reminded me of my responsibilities (as if I hadn’t adhered to them in the previous 2 months).

Why all this?

Because I was unable to find someone to cover my full shift as I had an exam in those 2 hours and nobody was able to cover for me.
The person reminding me of my responsibilities had ‘sacrificed themself’ in order to cover for me (for 2 hours). The whole thing was very hypocritical as the same individual had a last minute work commitment the previous week and left me to work alone for an entire shift. None of the bosses, nor my colleagues intervened in my defence or to point out that it was unfair to crucify me for 2 hours whilst a week before this individual skipped 7!
Ultimately I was left very upset, stressed and disappointed to a point that I couldn’t focus on my studies and had to work on an assignment in less than 24 hours (which in the end went ok).

For this reason exactly a week ago, after the Monday meeting, I handed in my staff card and officially resigned from my position for this semester. What is the point of doing something if you are feeling stressed or unappreciated?

Hopefully I will find some other position of responsability to cover within the organisation as I really enjoy working there and look forward to trying out something new.